India hopeful of ending n-tech isolation

June 3rd, 2008 - 5:45 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, June 3 (IANS) Even as the fate of the India-US civil nuclear deal appears increasingly uncertain, the government Tuesday said it was still “hopeful” of ending technology denial regimes directed against India. “The challenge is to have more access and integration with global technology,” External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee told reporters here on the sidelines of a function organized by an industry body.

“India has remained isolated from high-technology commerce due to its position on nuclear energy. We hope to resolve this soon,” he said.

The India-US nuclear deal is expected to lead to the end of decades-long technology denial regimes that were put in place after India conducted nuclear tests in 1974 and 1998.

The deal, after it is cleared by the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and approved by the US Congress, will lead to the resumption of global civil nuclear commerce with India after a hiatus of nearly three decades.

The government is still trying to evolve a political consensus over the contentious nuclear deal which is being fiercely opposed by its communist allies on grounds that it will make India subservient to strategic interests of the US.

Mukherjee’s optimism on ending technology denial regimes, which the Manmohan Singh government has touted as the larger objective of the nuclear deal, suggests that it has not given up its efforts to push the deal through political opposition.

According to an understanding, the Left parties supporting the government have to approve India’s pact with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) before the deal can go to the next stage - an amendment in guidelines by the NSG in favour of India.

Mukherjee, who goes to China on a four-day visit Wednesday, also spoke about India’s emergence as “an important global player” and the benefits of plugging into “the grid of globalization”.

“With effective functioning of multilateral institutions and restructuring of the global economic architecture, countries in the developing world would stand to benefit from open markets and competition,” he told businessmen at the 87th annual general meeting of the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham).

“In a globalising world, we have to look beyond regional boundaries and work together,” the minister said while underlining India’s support for the economic integration process in the country’s neighbourhood.

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